Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 3, 2011

THE PUBLIC ISN'T BUYING WHAT THE GOP IS SELLING.... If there's any good news for Republicans in the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, it's hiding well.

Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, says these results are a "cautionary sign" for a Republican Party pursuing deep budget cuts.

He points out that the Americans who are most concerned about spending cuts are core Republicans and Tea Party supporters, not independents and swing voters.

"It may be hard to understand why a person might jump off a cliff, unless you understand they're being chased by a tiger," he said. "That tiger is the Tea Party."

Literally every day for the last few months, GOP officials have argued, ad nauseum, that "the American people" want and expect Republicans to pursue their far-right agenda. The public wants deep spending cuts, they say. Voters are demanding austerity measures, they insist.

And yet, the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming -- the party's agenda is appealing to its far-right base, not the American mainstream.

On the party's union-busting efforts, for example, a 62% majority believe it's unacceptable to eliminate public workers' collective-bargaining rights as way to deal with state budget deficits. Only 33% think it's acceptable.

On national priorities, most Americans believe job creation and economic growth -- not deficit reduction -- should be policymakers' top issue. Similarly, a 52% majority of Americans believe GOP budget tactics "go too far" in "cutting programs and reducing federal spending."

But the results that should cause Republican leaders to break out in a cold sweat were the ones on how Americans would like to see policymakers reduce the deficit.

The most popular: placing a surtax on federal income taxes for those who make more than $1 million per year (81 percent said that was acceptable), eliminating spending on earmarks (78 percent), eliminating funding for weapons systems the Defense Department says aren't necessary (76 percent) and eliminating tax credits for the oil and gas industries (74 percent).

The least popular: cutting funding for Medicaid, the federal government health-care program for the poor (32 percent said that was acceptable); cutting funding for Medicare, the federal government health-care program for seniors (23 percent); cutting funding for K-12 education (22 percent); and cutting funding for Social Security (22 percent).

In other words, the most popular ideas are the one Republicans refuse to even consider, while the least popular ideas are Republican favorites.

GOP pollster McInturff added that the numbers should "serve as a huge flashing yellow sign to Republicans."

Of course, Republicans aren't likely to see that huge flashing yellow sign if they're busy running from a tiger that's chasing them off a cliff.

For the full results from the poll, the 20-page pdf is online here.

Steve Benen 8:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Piss on them. They are pissing on us so with any luck ,if we are still a county with a middle class in two years, our stupid electorate will throw these cretins out of office. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on March 3, 2011 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

They don't see a tiger.
They're trying to make believe that they see a lady.

Well, they opened that door, and whether it's the tiger or the lady that bites them in the ass and causes them to be mauled in 2012, I'm A-OK with it.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 3, 2011 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK

What could be more reasonable than the cultured elite right wing yakkers lining up effusively to apologise for misrepresenting the views that have made them wealthy .
Sort of like biting the hand that feeds you .

Posted by: FRP on March 3, 2011 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

yeah? so how in hell do we get those morons to understand this?

good luck on that......

Posted by: just bill on March 3, 2011 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Heard them all into that box canyon. Seal the entrance. Then flood the thing.

Posted by: SW on March 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK


Or, more appropriately, the public doesn't know what the hell the GOP is selling, but they'll go ahead and buy some anyway.

Posted by: AndThenThere'sThat on March 3, 2011 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

The republicans don't care what the populace as a whole cares about. Plutocracy, not democracy, is their chosen form of government. Take care of the rich and screw the rest: full speed ahead and damn the poll numbers. The corporate media and talking heads give the tea partiers lots of coverage making it look like this small monority is really the majority.

Posted by: sparky on March 3, 2011 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds like the Republicans are a bunch of insulated, privilege minded Tea drinking twits!

They need to wake up and smell the coffee - the drink of choice among us middle and working class Americans!

Andm by the way, the preferred drink of our founding framers! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 3, 2011 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

But, and this is a serious question, why did the American people vote into office in the last election the very candidates that are now trying to put in place the very cuts and other policies that the American people do not like?

Posted by: Budly on March 3, 2011 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

The base is now Frankenstein's monster, driven mad by the dog whistles the elite tormented them with for years. Funny how that works. Winning elections was so important it didn't matter how you did it. It didn't matter that you virtually drove the nation to civil war. Winning was everything. Well, enjoy the fall, guys. You deserve it.

Posted by: walt on March 3, 2011 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Don't underestimate the public's willingness to act out of fear.

And don't underestimate the Right's willingness to stoke those fears.

Merchants of Hate have no conscience, because "hate" is simply a means to achieve power. If fascism takes root in America, it will do so with a Bible and a Flag.

Posted by: Rochester on March 3, 2011 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Too bad there's not a strong, well-organized political party that could oppose the Republicans and propose and follow through courageously on those measures the public apparently wants.

Posted by: Greg Worley on March 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

The public may not be buying it, but the MSM has bought it hook, line, sinker with undercarriage rust protection, fuzzy dice and an extended warranty, and that's what really counts.

Posted by: martin on March 3, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

It's "ad nauseam."

Posted by: Frank Spencer-Molloy on March 3, 2011 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

The tea partiers aren't the tiger. They're just the tiger's tail. The GOP is the tiger, but it can't go where it wants to go without its tail.

Posted by: Danp on March 3, 2011 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Budly: A lot of people couldn't be bothered to vote, and a lot of LIVs blamed Dems for taking too long to fix the economy. How you can be expected to fix a disaster 30+ years in the making in 18 months is beyond me, but there it is.

Posted by: Kris on March 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

The Uninformed voted GOP because they lie, er, talk a good game. Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! turned into Abortion! Abortion! Fuck women! Rape? Wassat?

Same old GOP bullshit.

Posted by: MsJoanne on March 3, 2011 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Why are the polls saying one thing, the pols another? Because the pols only listen to the voters who VOTE!

-as pogo said, 'we have met the enemy, and he is us'.
Vote early, and often. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 3, 2011 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

Budly - the writing was on the wall for us who bothered to truly see the Rovean purpose of turning American into a permanent one-party state, but alas, unassuming Americans weren't paying attention for far too long.

Along comes a truly nightmare economic disaster, caused by the Republican policies of depleting our national treasury through tax cuts, rolling up great debt at the same time, while eviscerating any market regulations. This shit demanded large transfers of tax payer monies to the Wall Street boys as part of the emergency remedy.

Then, unassuming Americans were fed a flak campaign between October 2008 and November 2010, sponsored by the Republican brand and its benefactors and aided by the Republican-branded activist Supreme Court jurists in the Citizens United decision!

This Koch Bros. inspired flak campaign raised the level of fear among the uninformed (FOXNEWS viewers) so sharply, unassuming voters who did bother to vote in 2010 were either rabid anti-Obama voters, or those confused, frightened voters who saw someone or something trying to take over our nation and slap death panels down their throats where ever they went!

Therein rests at least a partial reason we're where we are today.

Take away? -The powerful never sleep, and want to watch us as we lay ourselves down in the valley of evil! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 3, 2011 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

It's no surprise that the American people do not support the draconian cuts that the GOP seems hell bent on imposing on them. But if any sane person (regardless of their politics) thinks that the GOP will pay a political price for this stand they are sadly mistaken. I just do not see the Dems making this a political winner because they are exremely incoherent in their message, and they want money from the big businesses (who support these cuts) as well.
Suck it Middle Class.

Posted by: Martha on March 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

They Know We Don't Like Them

... and that this somewhat diminishes their chances for re-election. No problem - it just means that they have to ram through as much of their agenda as possible in the two years they are guaranteed to have.

This is why Senate Repubs are blocking everything except 110% of their demands. This is why Wisconsin Walker is stripping collective bargaining rights from the unions, selling off all the state's power plants to his political masters for a song, taking over the state's Medicaid program personally so he can kick off nearly everyone, and mandating that counties and localities decrease their property tax rates, for the express purpose of further starving the public schools.

And he won't talk with anyone, let alone "negotiate." It's his way or the (now unrepaired, frost damaged) highway.

Before they go gentle into that good night, the Repubs want it ALL. The public gave them power. They intend to use it, and to take as much as they can even when they have not been granted the power.

It would be nice if the public remembered this in 2012 (hint, hint).

Posted by: zandru on March 3, 2011 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Earmarks are another red herring. Eliminating earmarks doesn't reduce spending by a penny. It just means that instead of Congress directing funds to specific projects, other government agencies do it.

The battle over earmarks has been yet another one full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

Posted by: David Bailey on March 3, 2011 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

What the American people want is irrelevant. As long the GOP has the money flowing from corporations and the blind loyalty of the tea party, who cares what the average american wants. There could be a thousand polls showing simialr results, it's not going to cause any House republican to change his or her position. Plus the poll was taken by NBC/Wall Street Journal, we all know they are part of the Liberal Media cabal. Reality be damned

Posted by: Mani on March 3, 2011 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

These polls are clearly wrong.

Americans believe in liberty and freedom which were given to us directly by The God Almighty.

There is no way they will support any surtax on incomes over $1M. God will shed a tear if they actually did.

Posted by: samsa on March 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Since the last election by pandering entirely to the Koch backed Dick Army astro turf branch of the tea party, the Republican party has openly declared war on the middle class. Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and the House Republicans budget priorities are forcing Democrats to fight for the rights of the people.

For 30 years elected Democrats enabled the corporatist agenda to slip through with a wink and a nod, taking corporate campaign contributions on the quiet.

The noisy and overreaching tea party has changed that dynamic. If Democrats continue to operate business as usual they expose themselves to the wrath of the newly engaged Democratic base.

In a way the Tea Party has inspired a level of populism not seen in the Democratic party since the 60s. We all owe the Koch Brothers and Dick Army a thanks.

Thanks boys, now we are going to kick your butts, because in a straight up showdown on economic issues between the tea party and the Democratic base, we win by 20 points.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 3, 2011 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Lind posits that there is a three legged stool upon which the fury of the right vents its intellectual weight . These are a risible column of misdirection and outright indivisible by truth efforts that have seen success through other means than divisible by truth , or seriousness .
Now to be clear I cannot find three legged stool in Michael Lind's work , I just like the phrase . Furthermore I suspect if Mr. Lind read my characterizations he might find my remarks somewhat juvenile .
There is the quality of education in communist public schools leg , the satiny soft success of Flat Taxes , and its undead sister , Trickle Down Economics , also known as non Republicans get the wet side of the bed economics . Finally there is the dark mysterious single mothers and failure of the war on poverty statistics game . The success of the war on poverty (I know , confusing to a republican) was that the black families that moved up economically behaved similarly to the Yuppies or whites that crossed into greener economic pastures in they both put off having children to a create a lower birthrate for that class of economic success , as well as a lower birthrate for their racial and ethnic groups .
The level of unmarried ladies bearing sons and daughters are almost always more stressed economically . They are statistically no more representative of the body of their ethnic or racial makeup now or before the war on poverty successfully lifted so many people up .
So you have the same percentages of unwed mothers in America but lower birth rates in upwardly mobile people . This then makes the children of single mothers a larger portion of the percentage of live births , for the reason of the social economic upward mobility lifting of people and the consequent lower birthrates of the newly successful .
This does not appear to affect the propaganda that we endure , an unwed mother plague of biblical proportion that needs to be defined as "Liberal" and therefore poisonous . It is in fact the direct opposite , because of the success of the Liberal war on poverty there are measurably more successful families that have moved up from poverty and consequently decided to focus on that success rather than having a large family . It is not that the unchanged number of people who are bearing proportionally more of the final number of births being an epidemic , it is the overall decline in birthrates which make a constant appear larger .

Posted by: FRP on March 3, 2011 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

In Republican World incomes above $250,000 just aren't that much anymore and should not be taxed at the same rate as the rest of us and a public school teacher making $40,000 with benefits and a pension is waaaay overpaid and should be stripped of any bargaining rights available in the private sector.

I certainly hope this madness translates into a Republican wipe out in 2012. They might make things so bad that they'll be lucky to get 22% of the vote, which appears to be about the size of their base.

Posted by: bcinaz on March 3, 2011 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, everyone here seems to overlook a few factors:

* The GOP's strategy could well be to purposely trash the economy, so that they can blame it all on Obama in '12 and run against that. The disastrous effects of their economic policy, therefore, are not accidental but intentional.

* The SCLM can, as others have alluded, be counted on to all but ignore the GOP's role in trashing the economy, as well as their abject refusal to actually govern, which involves compromise.

* As a last resort, please note that many of the paperless voting systems used in states today were designed by companies w/strong GOP connections- Premier Election Systems, aka Diebold, being prominent among them. In '04, the CEO of Diebold promised Ohio's votes for Bush- and he delivered. Long story short: when the GOP counts the votes, it doesn't have to win to "win."

I grieve for my beloved country, truly I do. But I also see my beloved country becoming what it should never be.


Posted by: Zorro on March 3, 2011 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Repbugs were smart in the campaign they only spoke in generalities like reduce the deficit but seldom giving details. Now the public is discovering the details and in many cases it is maoney out of that voters pocket.
The main reason the repugs won was too many Dems did not bother to vote and now they are getting a wake up call. The Tea Partyers are the type that don't think the rules apply to them but they make sure everybody else follows them.

Posted by: Mark on March 3, 2011 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Strangely, while the Sunday talking heads pontificate gravely on the depths of the deficit crisis and explain how it is absolutely vital that children, union members, the poor and the middle class must undergo suffering for the overasll good, they never mention surtaxes on people making over a million dollars a year.

What is the going raste for a pundit these days?

Posted by: MikeN on March 3, 2011 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK



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